Open Building is a professional practice based on a fundamental differentiation of three spatial scales of the built environment and respective social interaction spheres, facilitating multi-stakeholder collaboration and efficient community participation:



                       (public). The repetition of interwoven patterns of public open spaces with buildings creates a specific identify of urban districts. 

                                (collective). A collective base building allows flexible subdivision into private dwelling units. 

         (private). Each private unit permits an individual lay-out and fit-out, for example as residential dwelling, workplace, restaurant or shop.


The three spatial levels are deeply related. Their distinction offers to the users/residents the freedom to apply a particular layout/fit-out of their private homes, hosted within a collective support structure. Furthermore, it offers developers the freedom to build a specific architectural form, within an urban tissue of public outdoor spaces. Lastly, it offers citizens on different scales a rich diversity of spaces within larger, coherent environments!


Open Building differentiates three social spheres, respectively, based on the observation that, for most people, urban life is experienced this way: a private sphere at home; a collectivesphere within small-scale neighborhoods (formed in and around support structures), and a public sphere within their city district (the larger urban tissue). The private sphere of an individual home enables any household to follow an individual life style; since any household is unique, all infills may be different. Groups of clustered households are enabled to collaborate and to flourish around collective support structures. Lastly, multiple local neighborhoods attach to a civic structure of public spaces, forming a recognizable city district with a specific identity.


Open Building is also an international network of people and organizations. Research and Projects are discussed during the annual CIB Congress W104 ‘Open Building Implementation’.


Experience sharing 

These lectures, excursions, workshops and consultations share the Dutch Architect Frans van der Werf’s 40 years of experience in open building projects (             ). Besides the project experience Frans wants to present his latest open building proposition: “The Transformation of Slums areas into low-rise high-density city districts”. (See               ,                and                     ).


ir. Frans van der Werf,

Architect and urban planner





Open Building








Excursions and



Consultations for

















Students and




'Diversity within Wholeness'



What is Open Building?